AAF ALERT | Request to stop TxDOT proposed changes to Outdoor Billboard advertising

Fort Worth, Texas - September 21, 2017 - A Message from AAF-Amarillo One of our members forwarded me a message today that she received from a contact at Lamar Outdoor. Apparently, there is urgent need to convince TxDOT to not enact new rules that could block the view (and effectiveness) of outdoor billboards. They're asking that emails objecting to the new rule be sent to row_outdooradvertising@txdot.gov by Monday 9/25.

 SUMMARY OF PROPOSED CHANGES

  • Height of billboards - Placing a 42.5 foot limit on billboards
  • Preventing billboard companies from trimming trees/brush when they overgrow the visibility of the billboards

TEXAS REGULATORY HEIGHT ISSUES

1. HBA does not mandate a height limit.
    •37 states have no height limit.
    •Of the 37 states that have no limit, no public call to cap heights.

2. The Texas 42.5 foot limit has no scientific basis.
    •No credible evidence that height contributes to safety issues.
    •Current height may have been arbitrarily reached as a Senate compromise in 1985.
    •A static height limit cannot be appropriate for every visibility situation encountered.

3. Practical effect of “no height” limit. 
    •The Rural Road Act is not affected by the AusPro decision, thus roadways that are not Interstate or Federal Aid Primary roads the height will remain at 42.5 feet.
    •Because cities regulate height independently, change should not affect them.
    •No reason for operators to build excessively tall signs.
        ◦Signs that are too high cannot be read.
        ◦Higher capital costs of higher signs affect financial viability.

4. The height for a four lane state highway should not be the same as a twelve lane Interstate.
    •Readability issues vary greatly.
    •“Visibility” is not “readability”.
    •Lack of readability diminishes the business asset.

5. Measuring from the “centerline of the main traveled way”
    •That point is in the middle of the highway facility.
    •Access by department personnel for measurement purposes is dangerous.
    •Department personnel are not RPLS.
    •Sign operators are prohibited from accessing the highway facility.
    •By virtue of the measurement point, measurements will be inexact.
    •Safest, most exact point is the base of the sign.

6. TxDOT staff recommended a “no height’ limit.
    •High level of personnel time and administrative costs to regulate height.
    •Will result in more of the same litigation that the legislature cured with SB 312.

7. OAAT does not advocate raising height of existing signs.
    •Would only apply to new builds and relocated signs.
    

SAMPLE LETTER FROM ADVERTISING AGENCY PARTNERS - Please put into your own words

DATE:

To: Row_outdooradvertising@txdot.gov

CC: James.Bass@txdot.gov

Texas Department of Transportation:

I work in the advertising industry and I have seen billboards used to promote and boost the sale of goods and services because they WORK! They provide a cost-effective way for local advertisers to reach targeted markets. On many occasions, I have recommended billboards to all sorts of clients, but if consumers cannot see the advertising panels they cannot be sold to these clients. Visibility is key to the success of my customers’ campaigns. That success is compromised by unnecessary restrictions on height, and by visibility that is obscured by state-owned vegetation. I ask that you not impose unnecessary restrictions, especially when there is no negative financial impact to the state.

Sincerely,

Name

Address